Friday, 2 September 2016

A Stone

This afternoon I was walking (with my walking friends) in the alien air of North London, where I always feel like a stranger in a strange land, dyed-in-the-wool South Londoner that I am. I realised that I probably hadn't been in hilly Highgate for 40 years or more, and yes Highgate Village is indeed very lovely in its North London way. I missed morning visits to St Stephen, Rosslyn Hill (Teulon) and St Jude (Lutyens) but got to stand with due reverence (not unmingled with indifference) outside a couple of monuments to modernism - the Goldfinger house on Willow Road and the Isokon Flats on Lawn Road (which look strangely like an Osbert Lancaster drawing).
 Along the way I took the photograph above, of the Stone of Free Speech on Parliament Hill. Nobody seems to know the history of this stone bollard, but it has somehow acquired a reputation as a place where free speech is protected - which can only be a good thing in these censorious times. Modern 'pagans' seem to like holding ceremonies at the stone, and it is of course irresistible to graffitists...

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